NHS Trusts across the country have informed patients not to come in, as the public sector strike causes thousands of cancelled appointments.
The extent of the disruption varies across the UK. In England, the Government estimates around 60,000 non-urgent operations, out-patients appointments, tests and follow-up appointments have been postponed. In Scotland, at least 3,000 operations have been cancelled.
Thousands of non-emergency operations have been cancelled due to the strikes
Radiographers, physics, podiatrists and chiropodists have walked out, but the British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives are not taking part in the strike.
Some Trusts are still working at nearly full capacity- The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust said most outpatient appointments and planned operations are going ahead as planned. There will be limited non-urgent patient transport services.
However, other Trusts have been more affected. Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said 211 out of 1,149 outpatient appointments have been cancelled so far, and 47 out of 99 elective inpatient and day-case operations have been cancelled.
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said around 300 planned procedures, including operations, and outpatient appointments have been rescheduled. Elsewhere, people are being asked to be patient and expect delays if they are in hospital.
NHS Direct is encouraging patients to use its online health symptom checker to get advice about non-urgent problems during the strikes, but all hospitals have promised to provide emergency and critical care.
One of the benefits of private medical insurance is the choice of being treated in a private hospital, which should not be affected by the public sector strikes. Read our health insurance guide to find out more about the benefits of private healthcare, or compare health insurance policies online now.
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